Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Although I have always drawn, painted, illustrated, created displays, posters, paintings, classroom materials, window design, invitations, murals and more, I have only been a FULL Time illustrator for a very short time. As a classroom teacher I was a master teacher and a pretty big fish in my community. As a travel agent I enjoyed swimming in the same pond as some very big fish................. then I decided to move to another pond.
When I started illustrating full time I had no idea how large the new "pond" would be. Yes, I knew there were large numbers of illustrators, but the realization of just how many became apparent after attending my first SCBWI conference. I and many others realized we were the little fish in a very big pond.
Just to swim into that pond was an amazing experience. The BIG FISH were there, of course, and many medium sized fish, and then there were those of us that were the small fry. The Bigger Fish talked to us little fish and gave us great insight as to where to find the best fish food. They told us how to watch out for the sharks out there and those scavenger fish that would love to have us work for nothing. The Big Fish shared their successes and disappointments with us. We felt that because even they had struggled our struggles would only make us stronger and wiser. They also suggested we stay in the smaller ponds for a while so that we could grow and learn.
By and by even little fish begin to grow. They learn how to swim a bit faster and smarter and find others in the pond that share the same interests and goals. One by one they leave their little pond and begin to navigate the open waters.
Over the past 6 years I have been blessed to have known all sizes of "fish" in the community of children's illustrators and authors. The community of blogs, websites, online portfolios, groups and connections have been feeding sites for me and many of my peers.
I think we all need to thank and pay homage to the Big Fish that have been our leaders, mentors, friends, and supporters on the journey. I am still a much smaller fish in the big pond, but I am learning that I can grow if I pay attention, work hard and of course... never give up.